July 13, 2024
Malaria Vaccines

Benin Receives First Shipment of Malaria Vaccines, Aiming to Reduce Infant Mortality Rates

Benin, a country in West Africa, has received its first shipment of vaccines for malaria, a disease that is responsible for the majority of infant mortality in the country. Officials announced on Monday that the government has officially received 215,900 doses of the RTS,S vaccine at Cotonou airport and will soon begin administering them to the population.

Malaria remains an endemic disease in Benin and is the leading cause of death among children under the age of five, according to Health Minister Benjamin Hounkpatin. He stated that 40 percent of outpatient consultations and 25 percent of hospital admissions in the country are linked to malaria, highlighting the urgent need for effective preventive measures and treatments.

The RTS,S vaccine, which has been developed specifically to combat malaria, is expected to immunize approximately 200,000 children under the age of two in Benin. Faustin Yao, an immunization specialist at the UNICEF office in Benin, stated that infants will receive four doses of the vaccine at the ages of six months, seven months, nine months, and 18 months.

Benin is the third African country to receive doses of the malaria vaccine after Cameroon and Sierra Leone. The vaccine was first implemented through a pilot phase in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, which was coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and funded by the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, among others. Over two million children have been vaccinated in these three countries, resulting in a significant decline in mortality rates and a reduction in severe cases of malaria and hospitalizations, according to GAVI.

The WHO reports that a child under the age of five dies from malaria almost every minute. The disease, caused by a parasite transmitted by certain types of mosquitoes, continues to be a major public health concern, particularly due to its increasing resistance to treatment. In 2021, there were 247 million recorded cases of malaria worldwide, leading to 619,000 deaths. The majority of these cases and deaths are concentrated in Africa, where 95 percent of cases and 96 percent of deaths occur.

The introduction of the malaria vaccine in Benin is a significant step towards reducing malaria-related mortality and improving the health outcomes of children in the country. The government aims to swiftly administer the vaccines and work towards achieving a substantial decrease in malaria cases and related hospitalizations. This milestone showcases the ongoing efforts of global health organizations and partnerships to combat infectious diseases and improve healthcare access in high-burden areas.

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1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it